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 Emil H. (or Wuerst) Wuertz  (1856 - 1898)

About: Emil H. (or Wuerst) Wuertz
 

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Lived/Active: New York/Illinois/Vermont / Germany      Known for: sculpture; teacher

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Ad Code: 4
Emil H Wuertz
from Auction House Records.
Bronze Bust
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:

The following information was submitted in April of 2006 by Darcy L. Evon:

Emil H. Wuertz (1856-1898) was a noted American sculptor who received much of his training in France under Antoin Mercie (1845-1916) and Auguste Rodin (1840-1917).  One of his companions in Rodin’s studio was Frederick William MacMonnies, who completed a portrait sculpture of Wuertz “in cap and blouse.”  Wuertz’s work was well received and he exhibited in the French salon.
 
Wuertz was born in Bavaria and immigrated to New York in 1870 with his parents and siblings, becoming a U.S. citizen in 1880.  In 1892, he was recruited to work on special projects for the World’s Fair Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  At the fair, he exhibited a sculptural masterpiece, “The Murmur of the Sea,” which won a prestigious medal; he was one of only two American sculptors to be so honored.
 
Enthusiastic over the success of the World’s Fair and the burgeoning artist colony in Chicago, Wuertz stayed and opened a studio at 71 Dearborn and later relocated to the avant-garde Tree Studio complex that was established by philanthropists Judge and Mrs. Lambert Tree.  He was an instructor at the Art Institute of Chicago.  Wuertz’s famous Chicago sculptural works during this period included “Pride,” “Inspiration,” “Fountain of Youth,” “Fountain of Life,” and “Water Nymph.”
 
In June 1898, Wuertz completed decorative figures for the Trans Mississippi & International Exposition in Omaha.  He decided to return to Paris after this commission, giving up his studio in Chicago.  Although he had been successful in the city and executed many important projects, he found that Chicago offered little encouragement to sculptors---many of whom had left in the years following the fair.  In early July, Wuertz and his two children left for France aboard the La Bourgogne.  Tragically, La Bourgogne collided with another ship off the coast of Nova Scotia in heavy fog on July 4, 1898, and most of the 715 passengers and crew perished, including the Wuertz family.
 
References:
 
The Chicago Tribune, 1893-1898
Falk, Peter Hasting, 1985, Who Was Who in American Art, Sound View Press.




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